By Boluwaji Obahopo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja to dismiss the case filed by Dino Melaye (PDP) challenging the victory of Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC) in the last year November 16/30 Kogi West Senatorial District rerun election.

This was contained in an oral submission by counsel to INEC, Barr Chris Alashey on Thursday while closing its case, saying the application filed by the petitioners (Melaye) lacked merit and was incompetent.

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The electoral umpire who was supposed to open her case on Tuesday could not do so, because her witness was unable to make his way to the court due to the lockdown declared by the Federal Government arising from the Covid19 pandemic; pleaded to do so on Thursday.

INEC, however, changed their mind about calling a witness as hearing resumes on Thursday, saying the Petitioner’s position was enough ground to dismiss the case, as there was no need to call a witness again.

INEC counsel, Barr. Alashey said, “When I was trying to get in touch with my witnesses, I also used the same time to review the testimony of the Petitioner’s witnesses, where most of them admitted before the court that they lied.

On this note, I am no longer calling any evidence. This is on the fact that the first respondent (INEC) case was clearly established during the cross-examination of the Petitioner’s witnesses.

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“Your lordships can bear me witness that I commanded the witnesses for saying the truth that the election was free and fair. On this, I hereby close my case and plead your lordships to grant me my prayers that the petitions should be struck out for lacking in merits and full of lies, errors, and deceits.”

The Tribunal subsequently adjourned to May 5, 2020, for the 2nd respondents’, (Senator Smart Adeyemi) to open his case.

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